With the NFL Draft approaching, we’re taking a team-by-team look at the needs of each club. Up next is the team with the No. 27 overall selection, the Houston Texans. While they haven’t been very active in free agency, watching more go out than come in, they have added a few veteran parts for what they hope is a push to the next level.
Wide receiver: Andre Johnson remains one of the best in the league, but the Texans have precious little to go with him. They only had one other experienced wideout on the roster, and they cut him (Kevin Walter). With a bunch of kids who haven’t proven anything yet, they need to find more targets for Matt Schaub, and soon.
Outside linebacker: The Texans were practically planning for Connor Barwin’s departure for Philadelphia when they drafted Whitney Mercilus in the first round last year. But more planning is needed, as they don’t have much beyond him and Brooks Reed. Finding their pass-rusher late in the first round might be the ticket, before the best ones are gone.
Guard: The right side of their offensive line was iffy last year, and they aren’t necessarily in a spot to invest a high pick in the grade of tackle they need. So if they could find some competition inside in the middle rounds, it would be a smart move.
Nose tackle: Shaun Cody’s not going to be able to bang forever, and has shown signs of wearing down. That’s probably why he’s still unsigned, as they appear content to go with Earl Mitchell as the starter. Adding a big body is a need if they’re not interested in bringing Cody back, or even if they are.
Tight end: The Texans are fortunate that Owen Daniels has responded to the lack of secondary receiving targets. But if they’re not going to throw outside, they might want to add another option here.
The Texans are good enough, that unless they go receiver or guard with their first pick, there’s a very good chance that guy’s not starting this year.
And that’s the goal of every franchise.
The fixes the Texans made this offseason were the kind a team makes when they think they’re this close to a Super Bowl.
They lost range in the transition from Glover Quin to Ed Reed at safety, but they hope the added leadership and championship experience counteracts that.
Upgrading at punter (from Donnie Jones to Shane Lechler) was a fine-tuning move. Likewise, losing the versatile James Casey at fullback and replacing him with veteran Greg Jones shows this team is gearing up for one big run.
Adding any useful parts in the draft would be a benefit, but it’s hardly a necessity.
But if they fall short again, it’s reasonable to start asking questions about Schaub, and the ultimate direction of the franchise.